The “From Lu to You” kickball tournament and fundraiser on a warm Saturday, Oct. 9 gave participants a great opportunity to have some outdoor fun while helping out the families of children in need.
The “From Lu to You” foundation began after Neal and Kevynn Schumacher’s daughter, Luella, was born with a multicystic kidney.
Doctors thought at first that the kidney would repair itself before Luella was born. They then thought that it would heal itself shortly after her birth.
Neither of those things happened, and at 6 months of age, Luella went into surgery to have that kidney removed at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul.
Though insurance was able to cover most of the cost, the experience was still eye-opening for the Schumachers, as unexpected expenses from hospital parking, time off work and more added up.
The family received a monetary gift from the Beau Berglund 32 fishing tournament, and their gratitude for that generosity led them to want to help out other families going through similar struggles.
They created the “From Lu to You” foundation, and decided to hold an annual kickball tournament fundraiser, with proceeds going to help other families dealing with unforeseen medical-related expenses.
“We decided on kickball because it was a game everyone could have fun playing,” Neal said.
The first year they had five teams participating. The second year, eight teams joined in. After a year off due to the COVID pandemic, they brought back the tournament in 2021 – and 13 teams signed up to meet at the Leroy Samuelson Fields in Pine City on Oct. 9.
And Luella – now age 4, and full of energy – was happily zipping around the tournament to give hugs to family and friends.
Neal said that so far they have helped nine families, and with the funds raised from this year’s tournament, they plan to help many more.
“It made a difference for us,” he said. “We just wanted to pass it along.”